We just spent 10 days on vacation. We visited my daughter’s family in New Hampshire at Rumney Bible Conference and also spent a few days in Maine where we renewed our love for Portland, Boothbay Harbor and the Damariscotta-Pemaquid-Round Pond peninsula. We haven’t been there in two years, so we were really missing our lobster dinner on the dock, climbing the rocks around the Pemaquid Point lighthouse and shopping at Reny’s and L.L. Bean’s factory outlet in Freeport. Just some places that hold such fond memories for us. Have you heard their state slogan? “Maine – the way life should be.” And that’s just how we feel when we arrive. Might it have something to do with the fact that we only go there on vacation?
Coming home was sweet. Back to our cozy home and our routines. Goodness, there’s a lot to do those first few days back! Laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, making yogurt, attending to mail and paying bills. But we were refreshed and eager to get back to normal.
One of my routines that I really struggled getting back to was my quiet time. Let me explain. For about the past 10-15 years, my quiet time has been, well, as regular as brushing my teeth in the morning. On vacations, in hotels and camping, on holidays, with kids living home or not, when I’m working full time, part time or not at all. About 15 years ago I had asked the Lord to give me grace in that area, to give me a hunger to be with Him more regularly, and He responded. Not that they are always deep or profound or intimate visits. But I want to be faithful to show up, you know?
Last week though, I showed up but I struggled – to focus, to concentrate, to be less busy-minded! To stop thinking about all I had to do, all I wanted to do. And these were all good parts of my life that needed attention, but not THE good part.
But only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part,
which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42
So earlier this week, when again I struggled with distractions, I decided to shake it up. I threw on some shorts and a t-shirt, filled my backpack with my Bible, a devotional, some writing material, a sweater (!) and a thermos of coffee, and took off on my bike.
Now I live at near the ocean in New Jersey, so I don’t venture out on my bike unless it’s early enough, but I figured 7:30 was still safe from heavy traffic. What a beautiful morning! The air was cool and crisp, quite unlike our normal summer weather.
I could breathe! Do you know what I mean? Sometimes you just have to get outside to breathe fresh air, to feel the wind blowing your hair, to feel your muscles burn, to say bright sunny good mornings to other early risers. Oh, it was good for my soul!
After traveling a few miles, I was ready to find a place to sit. I settled on a park bench overlooking a lake, ducks, a water fountain – so peaceful. Very few people were up and about. It felt like just me and, well, the Lord. Makes me smile remembering. And He refreshed me. He reminded me (again) that…
He loves me like a bridegroom waiting for his bride (hard to imagine, but true), and the proof of that love was forever settled by Him going to the cross on my behalf!
Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ,
so that you might be joined (some translations use the word “married”)
to Another, to Him who was raised from the dead,
in order that we might bear fruit for God. Romans 7:4
I know it’s tempting sometimes to think, “I don’t feel connected.”
But if we are trusting in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to make us reconciled to God and have given him our lives, we could not be any more connected! It’s not a matter of how we feel – feelings often deceive.
Biblical truth is this…
He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 3:5-6
He saved us because of his mercy, hallelujah, and we are his! Nothing lifts my heart like being reminded of the gospel.
As Jesus got away from the crowds because He needed to spend time with his Father, we also NEED that time with the Lord. Fight for it if you have to!
My daughter once read in a book about the differences between men and women. Evidently, when women try to do something and fail, they then explore options and try to find a better way of doing it. They change it up. Men, though have a tendency to do it the same way a second time and a third time and just exert more force. Lol. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s certainly a good thing to explore options. To be creative. To find what works for you.
The next time you feel stunted, apathetic, maybe even oppressed, don’t give up. Shake up your routine! Change your environment! Go to the beach when no one else is there. Go to a park. Go to a coffee shop and sit in the corner! (I had one of my most fruitful times in a packed coffee shop!) Bring your Bible and whatever else you desire and read. Journal. Create a zone of focus. Sometimes a crazy leap of faith reaps crazy results, ha!
You will build a history of times when you had a need and God met that need with Himself.
I’d like to share a series about enjoying a quiet time with the Lord for my next few posts. I know this is a struggle for many believers, and for some, a new idea. If you want to be sure not to miss them, sign up below to receive future posts in your email!
Do you have a regular quiet time? Do you want to? How has it affected your life? Feel free to share…